The Need for Training

by Bill Murchison, Jr.

There are two overriding reasons for companies to provide training for their employees. The first is safety and the second is monetary. 

There is an old saying that "people die for lack of instruction." Unfortunately, this is a true statement in the oil business. Most of our deaths and injuries in drilling operations arise from human errors, improper supervision and poor drilling practices. They can be avoided and eliminated by simply providing excellent training and instruction.

For example, when drillers are trained to monitor trends on the rig, they will immediately begin to notice irregularities. Those trends will keep them out of trouble, particularly in the transition zones. Trends that should be monitored include: pressure and strokes, torque, drag, rate of penetration, mud, and pit. In order to monitor and spot trends, the numbers must be written down.

When trends indicate a problem, that primary problem can be dealt with immediately. Mishandling of primary problems can lead to associated problems which are often more difficult to deal with. For example, when the trends indicate that you are taking a kick, if you don't deal with it properly, you could end up with a lost circulation problem, stuck pipe or even worse, a blow out.

Proper training in how to supervise a drilling operation will eliminate most of the serious problems, like blowouts, that can cause injuries and/or death. Proper training also reduces the cost of a drilling operation.

When a rig has to be shut down for several days because of stuck pipe or to do a fishing operation, it can cost the company millions of dollars in cost overruns and lost time. When drillers carefully monitor their rate of penetration and examine their bits when they are pulled, they can determine if they are using the proper type of bit. The trends will not only help cut costs on the current rig, but can help the company do a better job planning for the next well in the same formation. The trends help optimize the entire operation.

At Murchison Drilling Schools, located in Albuquerque, NM, Senior Instructor Bill Murchison lays forth 5 objectives in his Drilling Practices course. He wants students to be able to 1) supervise a drilling operation, 2) preplan field operations, 3) analyze and solve drilling problems, 4) prevent unscheduled events and 5) communicate on the rig. These objectives can clearly help companies in their efforts to make rigs safer and more profitable.

When one compares the cost of training versus the amount of money lost in drilling operations because of poor supervision and lack of training, the numbers speak for themselves. There is a tremendous need for training in the oil business.